When a young man feels called to the priesthood, he has to undergo a process and pass through several steps such as interviews, several tests, journeying with the vocation director for some time, meeting the bishop several times, letter of application, etc. When accepted, he stays several years in the seminary for intensive formation which includes studies in Philosophy and Theology. The seminarian is also exposed to various pastoral experiences in different environments, including parish assignments, spending time with the poor, marginalised and less fortunate, and many other situations a priest may encounter in ministry. This is to test the young man's physical, psychological and moral stamina, to ensure that he is fully aware and ready for the tasks ahead. Only after successfully going through these many stages that the young man may ask to be ordained.
Jesus' disciples did not undergo such a process as we do today, but they had a somewhat similar orientation. Today's Gospel tells us that Andrew and Simon were simply casting their nets in the lake while
James and John were putting their nets in order when Jesus called them: "Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men." They left everything in the boat and followed Jesus immediately. That instant, willing and ready! No hesitation! No ifs or buts! They had their "seminary formation" with Jesus for only
three years or even less. All but one passed with flying colors and after that, they went on a super charged mission in bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the entire world.
Today we give thanks for the many young men and women who have answered God's call, just as the disciples did, to go forth and preach the Good News. What about the rest of us? Have you answered God's call to preach the Good News? Have you offered your lives to serve Him as His priests and religious? May you find it in your hearts to be generous, willing and enthusiastic to answer His call, and go into His vineyard, for His greater glory.